Reaching a Plateau
I’m only human, and I bleed when I fall down.
I’m only human, and I crash and I break down.
Your words in my head, knives in my heart -
You build me up and then I fall apart.
Because I’m only human.
- Christina Perri, "Human"
Plateau. Loosely defined, a plateau in recovery is when you are neither moving forwards nor backwards - there is little to no change in either direction. My weight has plateaued, causing me to be restricted to the unit for days on end. And this weight plateau has caused my mental progress to halt. Once extremely dedicated to hitting my eating disorder from every possible corner, I am now wondering if I even want to hit it at all.
My eating disorder is in full-swing these days. I am cutting corners when possible, and to be honest, I am letting the illness win. My overall state of being is right in line with everything the eating disorder wants and I am feeling tired, run down, and overwhelmed. I am experiencing treatment burnout. I have been fighting this battle for nine years straight and the battle is sucking up every ounce of energy I have left.
I am not being dramatic. This fight is exhausting and on Friday, I was ready to throw in the towel and call it quits. The whole process of being in treatment was weighing heavily on my shoulders and I was about to crumble under the pressure. I lashed out at my doctor and my treatment team over rules that had been "made up" and not explained properly. I cried and I panicked. Everyone is telling me that things will get better. But will they?
On Friday night, before my doctor left for the weekend, I had a raw and honest conversation with him. "It's too much", I kept repeating. He agreed that my eating disorder is stronger than it has ever been. That's what happens, the longer you hold onto the illness. Repeat hospitalizations offer repeated chances for success but also make way for the eating disorder to get more and more tangled up with who you are as a person.
One of the last things I said in my session was: "I still want to share that chocolate bar". Twice now, in past years, I have had the privilege of going off the unit with my doctor and sharing a Canadian Mars bar, which we now both know is equivalent to a U.S. Snickers Almond bar (marketing... go figure). But I know if I leave now I wouldn't get the chance to share another experience like that with him. And in that moment, I chose the chocolate bar over quitting.
This weekend has been rough. Trapped inside with no breath of fresh air, I am consumed with not only my eating disorder but also my anxiety and depression. Sometimes I lie on my bathroom floor and wonder if I'm going to make it through the day. So this week, I have decided to lean on my treatment team and the other patients here for support. I will not isolate, and I will not succumb to my thoughts. I can't say for sure that this week will be brighter, but I have to be proactive. I need to break free from the trap that is the plateau.
I'll let you all know how things turn out.